In our latest edition of Meet The Team, we have a catchup with our new Head Brewer, Paul Malcolm. Australia's loss is our gain, as Paul joins Tomos Watkin after a stint at a brewery in Byron Bay. He immediately fit right in with our tight-knit team and is brimming with great ideas and brewing know-how. We are chuffed to have him on board; welcome Paul!
Can you tell us a bit about your brewing background? How did you get into it?
Despite a longstanding love for craft beer, and an interest in its production, I hadn’t always considered working in the industry. It wasn’t until a friend sent me a job vacancy at Stone & Wood Brewing Co, Byron Bay that I began to consider this path. I have a Biomedical Science background and immediately fell in love with brewing - where art meets science. My short two year stint in Australia, where the craft industry is moving from strength to strength, was enough for me to know that this is what I wanted to do.
Upon returning to the UK I was lucky to be accepted onto the Brewing & Distilling Science MSc programme at Heriot-Watt University which has given me a strong theoretical foundation from which to develop as a brewer.
I’m from South Wales originally and began to reach out to some local independent breweries for some experience hoping it would lead to a future making great Welsh beer...
What initially attracted you to the brewing industry?
Brewing has always been something that has fascinated me from afar, but it wasn’t until a brewery tour at a certain large brewery in Amsterdam that I truly began to consider the possibility of a career in beer. The perfect mixture of science, engineering, art and of course beer.
What’s your favourite thing about working at Tomos Watkin Brewery so far?
The whole team has been immensely welcoming. It has been a steep learning curve stepping out of the classroom into a busy brewery but the hands-on experience in every aspect of the process has proven invaluable so far.
Do you have any exciting plans in the pipeline at the brewery?
At Tomos Watkin there is a foundation of high quality Welsh bitters and cask ales but also a management team with a vision to expand, modernise and innovate. It is an exciting blend. I’ve collected some experience working in craft beer in Canada and Australia and hope to bring with me some exciting new ideas such as new beers, packaging formats, events and much more!
What’s your favourite TW beer and why?
Bicycle Beer is my favourite. I’m a sucker for a fruity pale ale - perfectly sessionable after a bit of light exercise.
How important do you think it is that our beers are becoming vegan and that they are sustainably made?
Short answer: incredibly important! Long answer: consumer habits are changing as customers become more aware of the environmental impact of their purchases. Many new products have become readily available to fill this void and produce excellent brite beers without the use of animal produce - such as our flagship vegan beer Bicycle Beer!
Brewing beer is an energy intensive process and I believe that we have a moral responsibility as a brewery to tread lightly on our environment. We believe that small incremental changes being made from raw material usage right the way through to packaging choices help make us a lot more sustainable.
If you could dream up anything for the brewery over the next 5 years, what would you do? The wilder the better!
I feel like Willy Wonka…I will be working on a range of modern beers to complement the timeless classics already produced and I’d like to deliver these beers in new and exciting formats.
Also, collaborations across the nation. I’d love to work closely with the independent breweries of Wales to share knowledge and expertise and produce some delicious, special edition beers.
We brew in close proximity to Swansea University and I’d also love to start some projects looking at our environmental impact and what the small breweries of South Wales can do moving toward a green future.
Finally, the return of beer drinkers to Tomos Watkin after the pandemic! We have a fantastic bar set up at the Llansamlet site and it would make me immensely happy to see people enjoying our beers right where they are made. I'm looking forward to hosting brewery tours and parties in the run-up to Christmas, where the public can come and see where the magic happens.